Link: I learned invaluable lessons
posted by Jaywalker, 338 days ago
Sylvester 'Link' Hoelgaard is a player well known for his stellar performances in the previous Danish roster of Quantic Gaming and the other names the team were known by prior to that. A fan favorite, Link has numerous achievements under his belt, including a second place place title for The Defense, and has constantly challenging for the top in Dota 2.
In an interview with joinDOTA, Link talks to us about the beginning, highs and lows of his career - including his shock departure from his previous team - and the daunting future.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't your first major competitive effort with Nordic Esports?
Actually it was with Back to Basics playing in Farm4Fame vs. SK many years ago. I loved playing with NE and all the players became dear friends of mine. NE also took my LAN virginity.
One of your teammates from NE was CalculuS, and it is widely known that you two are very close. What do you think of him both as a player and a friend?
As a player CalculuS plays really aggressively and wants to secure kills or push towers as fast as possible. Sometimes he takes it a bit too far and other times it works out really well, action after action. He always listens to criticism and is fast to admit if he made a mistake as well as praise himself as well as others if they did something good. If he is having an argument about something Dota related he always backs his thoughts and opinions up with logical reasons and if he cannot he will change his opinion – a skill a lot of players I can think of would benefit from.
As a friend he is loyal, he never goes behind people’s backs. If he has something to say he says it upfront. He is a very calm person down to earth and it is very relaxing to be in his company, sometimes even lazy, lol.
For instance, I was sharing a hotel room with him and there was this minibar. Everyday we got baited to eat a little bit of the goods within the bar and every morning it got filled again. We ended up eating a lot of that stuff without really thinking of the cost of it, or at least be too relaxed to care. When judgement day came, and we had to pay for the stuff and sign out, the receptionist, a woman, asked us if we had eaten from the minibar and if yes, how much? Since they did not write down how much was eaten everyday (it was a fine hotel).
Calc put on his ice face and said: Just a bag of M&M's and a soda… I was standing to the right and [his] face was good if you know what I mean. We ended up paying next to nothing of what we owed and it was perhaps not the most honest and respectful thing to do, but the moral of the story is that everything will work itself out, no reason to stress around, and that is exactly how CalculuS is.
CalculuS and Link during Nordic Esports days
Both you and CalculuS eventually joined up with the rest of MonkeyBusiness. Following a series of good performances, you guys were sponsored by SK. Could you describe your emotions then?
Nordic Esports had to split up at the same time. Kragx was going to Korea to study and Balsam had to join the army for 4 months. I was very happy being able to continue my competitive career that fast after NE had to split, and on top of that with some of the best Danish players there is. We had a lot of different ways to view and play the game but eventually we agreed on certain aspects of the game and it lead to some very strong gameplay. We joined up with SK, which turned out to be rather disappointing, but we were happy at first.
You also streamed consistently and brought much joy to the community, and earned a lot of fans for the fun that you have, but also the stellar performances that you produce. What do you think made you a popular streamer?
Maybe other people can tell me why they like my stream, I am not really one to speculate why they do. I just stream because I think it is fun. And I like that I am not the only one to watch when I play well. It gives me a different form of excitement.
SK participated in ESWC with the lineup of Link, CalculuS, Angel, miGGel, Ryze. After a close game against Na’Vi, it was unfortunate that you guys did not make it to the finals despite having the perfect first day. How did you take the events as you narrowly missed out on the finals of one of the biggest LAN tournament?
We were really disappointed and felt like it was a poorly organized event. Even the semifinals were best-of-one and single elimination. Afterwards we were not motivated to fight for the third place vs. Fnatic and lost that game as well. Apart from that we had a good time as we always did well on LAN with Monkey-Business/SK.
It was not long before CalculuS was replaced by Mania. What were your thoughts, and how did you deal with losing one of your closest friend from the team?
The team was kind of in a slump and people felt like something had to be done. I was sad about losing a close friend from the team, but it also showed instant good results with MaNia. It seemed like people had found their fighting spirit once again and to be honest that felt really good at that time after being down for a while.
When I think back to that point now, I do not really regret going along with the decision. At the same time I feel like I’ve learned a lesson from it. If there is problems within a team it never comes down to one player, and replacing one player and doing nothing else will only postpone the problem. Had I been wiser at that time, then I would have done it differently for sure.
From left to right: AngeL, Ryze, Eatenfish (Coach), miGGel, CalculuS, Link.
After losing SK’s sponsorship, Quantic decided to pick you guys up. Quantic was a team that truly challenged for the top spot, narrowly losing out to Na’Vi in The Defense finals 2 games to 3. How would you describe the entire journey to the finals?
Just like with SK, Quantic worked for a while, which was while we were playing in The Defense. Everyone was giving it everything and it was a blast to play the entire tournament almost claiming first place. The finals versus Na’Vi was one of the most exciting series of games I have ever played.
After the series, you guys were highly rated by Na’Vi and Puppey even mentioned that Quantic was one of the few teams that truly knew how to play. What are your thoughts on this?
I honestly did not know about this, but it is always nice to get some recognition from respected players and people.
Sadly, this was not to last as after the finals Quantic sunk to a low and the team seemed to have lost its mojo. How would you explain this?
Basically the problems that we had in SK was never really solved, so it was just the same slump as earlier and at the time I did not understand why people lost their motivation. We did have some ups and downs during the period and I do not want to blame anyone or point fingers. We simply just had different beliefs and priorities at the time.
It was not long when rumors began circulating about AngeL leaving the team, but it was in fact you that left and was replaced by PlaymatE. This is a touchy subject, but could you elaborate on this?
Yes, it is a little bit touchy and I will just say it how I think it was since they never really told me the reasoning behind it. At first it was a team decision to kick AngeL from the team along with our manager MystresS since we felt like AngeL did not devote enough time to play anymore. He had found a new job and a girlfriend, the girlfriend being our manager which I really had no problems with, if it did not affect the team. Well, it did.
Anyways they got kicked and we tried to play with Lacoste for a while, and it did not go insanely good, but not that bad either. We decided to take in Lacoste and he had to talk with Evil Geniuses etc. about his former contract since he was not yet released. A couple of weeks went on with practice and then one day Ryze wrote to me on Skype, and told me he got an offer he could not refuse. I asked what team he was going to join/create, he said that they would take in PlaymatE and AngeL instead of Lacoste and me while getting a huge salary.
I was a bit sad, but simply wished him good luck since getting that salary would make their Dota so much easier to devote time to. I did not really understand why they would take in Angel and MystresS after all that shit we had before we kicked them. Maybe it was just a part of the sponsor deal, since it was MystresS who found them.
When the announcement (of you leaving) was made, countless fans were upset that you were leaving. You remained quiet on this issue for a long time, what was going through your mind then?
As you can see I did not really have a choice. Quantic asked me to make a new team with me in the center and they would support it fully if I should choose to do so. I refused their offer thinking about my army duty in August as well as I have not decided all the players that I want yet. A lot of fans asked me what happened and I told some of them. I was never asked to do an interview before now actually.
As time went by, things seemed to improve. You began streaming more often again, and right now you are often playing with The Tough Bananas, reuniting with CalculuS. How would you describe this whole experience (from SK to TTB)?
Yes, I still really enjoy to stream and play Dota and the whole thing did not change that. I learned invaluable lessons in the time of MonkeyBusiness/SK/Quantic and I am ever happy for that. I am only helping TTB out as a stand-in for the DreamHack Tournament since neNo- cannot make it due to exams. We are currently having lots of fun at Calc's crib with S4, Balsam, Calc, henry, me and his two roommates Rasmus and Emil.
Will you be joining TTB permanently?
No I will not.
You will be playing for TTB in this upcoming DreamHack, and hopefully avenge your early knockout in the previous DH with SK. How far do you forsee TTB going?
Time will have to tell. It is impossible to forsee how it goes on LAN for a new team.
You will be enlisting in the military soon, and sadly will be missing from the Dota scene for some time. What are your upcoming plans?
Yes, I will be away from August until the 1st of December. After that I will create/join a new team and play competitive once again. I already have some players in mind! I will stay in shape (Dota) while being in the army as well as develop myself as a person which in the end will benefit my Dota. Wait for me!
We wish you all the best with your future endeavours. Any shoutouts?
Shoutout to TTB, s4, HenryDick, Balsam, CalculuS as well as his two roommates Rasmus and Emil. Shoutout to Ryze for being a good friend and a awesome twitterer! (@RyzeDota). Shoutout to 7ckingmad for being 7ckingCalm/kind/sweet/downtoearth/anythingbutmad. Shoutout to my fans and friends in #linkdota mIRC quakenet as well as those who do not idle there.